The importance of ensuring adequate workplace refreshment provision is about more than keeping staff happy: a well-refreshed employee is a healthier and more productive one.
For many years, many workplace refreshments revolved around fizzy drinks in vending machines and an assortment of coffee, tea, hot chocolate and watery, synthetic-tasting soup. Today, however, there is a growing enthusiasm for water – both amongst staff and their employers.
The Benefits of Water
It is now widely accepted that promoting good hydration levels can boost employees’ concentration, productivity and overall health, leading to fewer sickness absences. By contrast, staff who do not keep well hydrated at work can show a wide range of physical symptoms, including tiredness, headaches, reduced alertness and concentration, poor information retention and light-headedness.
This means that a lack of water and workplace refreshment provision can lead to employee potential being unfulfilled, lower productivity, lower-quality work, mistakes and low morale within the workforce.
Access to Water
Employers must provide fresh drinking water, as dictated by the Health and Safety Executive in the UK, but many employers choose to go beyond the basic requirements in order to actively encourage workers to drink and, in some cases, to boost the aesthetic appeal of the workplace through the installation of well-designed water systems.
There is also the option to used water filters and softeners to improve the taste of tap water, although plumbed water coolers are a much better option to ensure a constant and cool supply of appetising drinking water without the risk of stocks running low.
They can also be more economic to run than a water softener plumbed into the mains and offer a much more practical solution when compared to the provision of bottled water or basic water butts. The latter two options can be problematic in some workplaces thanks to the need for a large storage area, constant stock checking and the health and safety risks associated with some of the larger butts.
Points to Consider
Offering a high standard of water provision may not just be about installing a water cooler, however. Instead, many employers choose a complete water system which offers a wide range of features, including a choice between hot and cold water.
There are various types of water systems available with a huge variety of functions and designs. So employers must make a choice between factors such as whether they want a counter-top or floor-standing design, a reservoir or direct chill supply and whether they do want to offer the flexibility of hot, cold and ambient water.
As well as providing the water, employers must ensure that their staff have something to drink from. This can mean simply providing enough cups, but some companies choose to go the extra mile with branded sports bottles, for example. These can offer great advertising potential when staff are out and about whilst also boosting staff engagement and morale as a result of an ‘above and beyond’ approach to the provision of refreshments in the workplace.